Scotland has won the Copenhagen 2007 Homeless World Cup ñ the international football tournament that changes lives. 48 nations and 500 players were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country for true grit, spirit and glory. Scotland beat Poland in the finals by 9 goals to 3 in front of packed crowds and HRH Crown Prince of Denmark, in the City Hall Square. The match was refereed by international referee Kim Milton Nielsen, who is infamous for sending David Beckham off in the World Cup against Argentina.
The Homeless World Cup is a life changing international football tournament. It unites teams of homeless people from across the globe, helping them to change their lives for the better. President and Co-founder Mel Young is also Co-founder of Scotland’s Big Issue, which now has a circulation of 40,000. With the success of this, he set up the International Network of Street Papers, which are sold in every continent. Their combined annual circulation is over 30 million and helps 100,000 homeless or longterm unemployed people throughout the world. Recognising the potential of Fairtrade as the best tool to alleviate poverty, Mel founded New Consumer Magazine, the UK’s fair trade and ethical lifestyle publication, which enables consumers to use their purchasing power to change the world.
The Homeless World Cup is for homeless men and women over the age of 16 years. Each country stages national trials that involve hundreds of people training for a period of time, sufficient for them to make changes to their lives. It is estimated that 25,000 players benefit from the pre-tournament training. Just one year after the Edinburgh 2005 World Cup, 77 per cent of players went on to find a home, get into education, jobs, training and repair relationships with their friends and family.
The tournament also supports and inspires grass roots football projects around the world, working with homeless and excluded people throughout the year. The goal is to reach at least 100,000 players per year by 2010.
Scotland’s Captain, Paul Smith, who also won best male player of the tournament, said: ‘This has been better than I could ever have imagined. We have really enjoyed the Danish fans that have supported us here in Copenhagen.’ Each player received a medal for participating. One of the biggest cheers went up for Brazil’s Michele Silva ñ best female player 2007.
Poland’s Captain, Rafal Rozonski, said: ‘One of my strongest dreams has been realised: to represent my country and participate in a World Cup Final. It can be very hard to be homeless but playing soccer makes you forget about that. You can be free.’
At the Closing Ceremony, Mel Young said to 48 nations, packed crowds and players victorious: ‘Are you watching world? Believe that we can end homelessness. Believe that we can end poverty. Homeless people, believe that you can change. We create a framework, use our imagination and believe we can change lives, change the world. We have shown this in a small way in Copenhagen. It is time to do more. Believe in the spirit of the event, the magic that happens to transform lives, to transform the world.’
The 6th Homeless World Cup 2008 will be held in Melbourne
Conact: The Homeless World Cup,
51 Timberbush, Edinburgh, EH6 6QH
Tel: +44 (0)131 561 1796
Top: the 2007 Scottish Champions
Photo: © Homeless World Cup